Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Heathen Christmas.

Long time readers may remember that I typically spend Christmas looking for places that are not closed. Gentile readers: you have probably not noticed that everything is closed on Christmas. Many of you will probably tell me movie theaters are open on Christmas. Yes, I know movie theaters are open on Christmas. Movies on Christmas are for people who want to get away from their families after Uncle Lou has passed out on the couch. You cannot spend 16 hours in a movie theater.

So with all this in mind, Nico and I headed to Las Vegas for the weekend. Vegas is a great place to Christmas...if you are not looking very carefully, you will not even notice that it's a holiday.

Among my favorite things to do in Vegas: 1) Root beer floats at the World of Coke. 2) The 3-D movie at M&M's World. I don't even like M&M's...except for Green. I love Green.

I am so through with blackjack. I was a little late in coming to this realization, but things could always be worse. To get away from the evil blackjack tables, I played in a No Limit Texas Hold em' tournament at the Monte Carlo. I've been watching a lot of poker on TV, so I figured I'd be good at it. I lasted a little over an hour, busted one guy, and was the chip leader for a brief while. As the blinds got larger, I made the mistake of calling a $1500 all in bet with a pair of pocket nines. I am pretty sure I was at least slightly favored over my opponent's off suited ace/queen, but he picked up a set of queens on the flop, taking away most of my stack. Nico was afraid to come into the poker room, so I do not have a very good picture of me in my first ever tournament.

For you non-poker players, that last paragraph makes me look like a bit of a high roller. Please note: that was $1500 in tournament chips, not $1500 real dollars. Anyway, Nico and I learned to play craps, and I made back all my blackjack and poker losses. I suppose I should just write that I came out ahead on the weekend...because I did not run into any coworkers and/or friends in Vegas that were bad luck at the craps table, causing me to finish the trip a few dollars above even.

I seem to remember sleeping for a couple of hours in the Century Building of New York New York. East Coasters: Is that a real building? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

We had Christmas (Eve) Dinner at Red Square in Mandalay Bay. Even with our ample bar tab, Nicole's strange fondness for caviar, and the current strength of the ruble this was not the most expensive meal we had ever eaten...I tried to take a cool picture of Nico in front of the headless Lenin, but it did not come out well. (Tana you will have to trust me that she is still alive). Somewhere, Nicole has a photo of herself in front of a non-beheaded Lenin, but that picture predates digital photography, and I have no time to scan it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My counter has been down for about a week, and I finally got around to replacing it. Starting over at number 1 is quite a drag. Anywho, by popular request: another picture of drunken ICE. What is she doing there? Drinking? I don't believe it.
You know you are going to be served a good martini when your hostess has color coded lemon and lime juicers.

I was going to title this entry: "Trying to taste the difference between a lemon and a lime..." and follow with a picture of the lemon and lime reversed. The picture (not shown) was ICE's idea, but I decided it was more cute than funny. This blog will continue to be all about funny...and hard hitting social commentary. No Cute. Never any Cute.

Well how about some miscellaneous party pictures?

Whenever we have people over, everybody seems to congregate in the kitchen. I spilled so many martinis, that I really shouldn't complain. (Hey Thingnamer, 5 points if you can tell me what the two items in the lower right corner are.)

#1 question overheard during cocktail hour: "Why is Jessica eating bread?" The answer is something like: too many people enabling her drinking problem. That's half of Julie in the picture...she turned out to be a fantastic maker of cosmopolitans.

My pictures all seem a little foggy, I wonder if I shrunk them down too much. Let's finish off with Bill, Jane, and a menorah. Happy end of Hanukkah, everybody. Bill's lovely wife Karen was even better than Julie at avoiding my camera.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Currently playing in the car: Pixies B Sides.

I bought the CD because ever since I saw Eraserhead, "In Heaven" (AKA Lady in the Radiator Song) has been going through my head. I was pretty sure I had heard the song before...I guess it must have been at a Pixies concert.

New David Lynch movie: Inland Empire. Here's an article about it...I think.

But he also adds to his air of mystery by doing things like taking a cow for a walk on a busy Los Angeles intersection or deciding to become a coffee merchant so moviegoers can drink his coffee while watching his films.

Lynch says he walked the cow on a leash because everyone likes a cow. When a young woman the other day asked the cow's handler if she could pet it, he said, "No, the cow's working."
In honor of Cocktail Hour (tomorrow):

A fellow came into a bar and ordered a martini.
Before drinking it, he removed the olive and carefully put it into a glass jar.
Then he ordered another martini and did the same thing.
After an hour, when he was full of martinis and the jar was full of olives, he staggered out.
"Well," said a customer, "I never saw anything as peculiar as that!"
"What's so peculiar about it?" the bartender said. "His wife sent him out for a jar of olives."
The Verdict.

$136.90 + $80 (for court costs).

I am perplexed by the amount of money the judge awarded to me. I was overcharged $36.90 for parts (Damn, I just realized I forgot to ask for sales tax), but I am not sure where the $100 came from. Perhaps it is a $100 annoyance fee. Many people annoy me; I wonder if I have a case against any of them.

Also, my court costs were actually a whopping $110.

Does anybody have any suggestions on what I should buy with my $216.80?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gotta watch Wapner. Gotta watch Wapner

6 months ago, I was really ticked off at RackNRoad. They had installed this (permanent) roof rack atop my car, and the work was not exactly to my satisfaction. There were numerous problems, and I won't bore my faithful readers with all the details here.

The important stuff: 1)Those tracks are not parallel; 2) the crossbars interfere with the sunroof 3) anything mounted on the rack interferes with the trunk 4) my beautiful car is scratched; 4) I was charged for parts not provided.

Anyway, we ended up in Small Claims Court yesterday. My case looked strong, or so I thought. Unfortunately, I am not an expert in the installation of permanent roof racks. When the expert (the defendant) says: "Those tracks are not supposed to be parallel", I guess that is more believable than me (as a non-expert) saying: "Are you kidding? I have the only roof rack in the world with non-parallel tracks".

Contrary to what you see on television, small claims court judges typically mail their decisions to the involved parties; still, I am guessing from the judge's tone that I did not fare well. On the way out, I said to the defendant: "I think you won that one". He patted me on the shoulder and replied: "That's business for you. Anything else I can help you with?" I suddenly felt bad for causing all the trouble...6 months had gone by, and the fight was really no longer in me.

So I'm ending my boycott of RackNRoad. I suppose the moral of the story is: Don't ever let anybody drill holes in the roof of your car. They are not easy to patch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I can recall no athletic activity since October's marathon...except for that mud run.

And Nico's blogging is more regular than her exercise routine.

Needless to say, it's been a while since we've been on the tandem. On Saturday, instead of our usual (I use that term loosely) ride with the Bicycle Club of Irvine, we went for a rolling 34 miles with Tandem Time.

The Bicycle Club of Irvine is filled with cyclists of all skill levels (including a tandem or two), and we can usually lead the pack without too much effort. On the Tandem Time ride, there were more than 20 tandems, and all of them were faster than us...even the couple wearing large, furry (and not so aerodynamic) antlers. We must get in shape if we do this again.

Interesting aside: Tandem Time used to be part of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, but there was some falling out between the two groups several years ago, and now Tandem Time is part of the OC Wheelmen. I believe the OC Wheelmen split off from the Bicycle Club of Irvine several years ago, also. I suppose there are politics in everything: government, work, aquariums...politics in bicycling should not surprise me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Last week, my department moved downstairs. We were previously in an open area, designed to encourage the free-flowing exchange of ideas. Now we are in a maze of Dilbert-esque cubicles. You can read more about it over at ICE's blog.

Because I keep getting lost while trying to find my desk, I suggested to the big boss woman that we get a street sign. Someone suggested that we call our "street" Lasko Way...I found the name to be a little narcissistic; especially since I am not the only person sitting in the aisle.

While helping out in the upstairs training room, I was told that all of the aisles had already been named, and that I was sitting on Balsa Ave. That sounded like a decent name, so I made a couple of street signs. Unfortunately, I had misunderstood: the name was supposed to be Bolsa Ave (a street that runs through Little Saigon)...evidently because: "There are so many Asians sitting here." Surprisingly, the Asians did not seem offended by any of this.

Anyway, I decided to name the street myself: Rodeo Drive (in honor of Sharon, and her $2000 shoes). She has chosen to operate the Prada cubicle:

I gave Mahsa Tiffany's before realizing that there is a Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Clinic.

My neghbor Jade requested Hermes. I had never heard of the place, but found her this nice logo:

I am operating the Bang & Olufsen shop.

Also featured on the street are: Gucci, Chanel, Cartier, and for Tuquyen (who was not even a little interested in the whole set up): the Anderton Court Shops, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shout out to mi amigo over at for sending us our first Christmas card of the season. Actually it's more of a winter card rather than a Christmas card...which was likely the sender's intent. (He once managed to find a Hallmark card which read: "Roses are reddish, violets are bluish. If it weren't for Christmas, we'd all be Jewish." I see now that the quote is attributed to Benny Hill.) But I digress. I am feeling quite guilty now, as I cannot remember the last time I sent a card to anybody; and yet, one of America's finest had the time to send this one (via snail mail, of all things) to us while still having the time to serve our country overseas.

In other news: One more week of Spanish (actually, one week of Spanish exams), and then it is finally over. I guess I have not posted about Spanish at all. You can read over at snakewoman's blog for a little more info. I will not be attempting any additional personal/professional development in the near future. I suppose that is not entirely true: Next up is beginning guitar at Coastline College. I seem to remember taking a guitar class once before.

In still other news: Is anybody else watching Dead Like Me? Originally aired on Showtime a few years ago, HDNET has recently started rerunning the show. I can watch just about anything in HD, even penguin migrations...but Dead Like me is absolutely brilliant. If you don't have HD, I believe you can catch it on the SciFi channel.
Finally done with training!!! Back to blogging as usual...just as soon as something exciting happens.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sorry Prescription Solutions, this video will probably not run at work...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This blog will continue to be PG rated.

Please click here for an alternative title for this post.

Some months ago, I wrote about the closing of the Historic Balboa Funzone. The bumper cars are now gone, the scary dark ride is now gone, the spinning tops are now gone...the ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and arcades remain. Also still in existence is Harborside Restaurant (inside the Historic Balboa Pavilion). Last night, the waitress cut us off after 1 drink each. We are not obnoxious drunks (nor were we drunk)...very strange, indeed. Here's a picture of the restaurant from the Historic Balboa Island Ferry.

Here's Nico from the same ferry...the house behind her is supposed to be very, very bright.

I have not yet figured out how to display video with blogger, so please click the link for the first ever Takealotofdrugs Motion Picture, which I have titled: "People Have Way Too Much Time, Money, and Electricity on Their Hands". The reindeer atop the house were not yet revolving. (The background dialog is one of the many families walking around and looking at Christmas lights).

When you have this many lights, you probably need constant tech support.